Aviation

Friday marks Boeing’s 100th anniversary

Boeing Co.’s logo sits atop the Wichita Modification Center on south Oliver in 2012.
Boeing Co.’s logo sits atop the Wichita Modification Center on south Oliver in 2012. File photo

On Friday, Boeing Co. officially turned 100.

On July 15, 1916, Bill Boeing launched the company building wood and fabric floatplanes in a Seattle boathouse.

For decades it was a key employer in Wichita and Kansas – at one time employing as many as 40,000 people here – first as a military aircraft builder and later as a manufacturer of large parts of all its commercial airliners, including 70 percent of the venerable 737 airliner, the company’s most-popular selling jetliner.

Even with its 2005 sale of the Wichita and Tulsa commercial airplanes division, and seven years later its announcement to wind down its remaining military and modifications work on South Oliver, Boeing’s fortunes in many ways are still Wichita’s fortunes.

That’s because Spirit AeroSystems – the company created from the sale of the Wichita and Tulsa divisions – continues to manufacture parts of all Boeing airliners. With 10,800 employees, Spirit is Wichita’s largest employer.

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